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on 5 April 2002
Here we go again,the same old question,"What's this we're listening to? It sounds familiar but the covers weird,like a chessboard or something.When did you say it was recorded? I can't find a date on it."
So again,the same old question.What is this? Well it's kraut-rock,but not as you know it,you know it better as trance or techno or whatever the fad is this week. This is what Deep Blue chills out to after giving Kasparov yet another thrashing over the Internet. This is what will still shine when all the stars are dead.
It's 1981,I am 12 years old and listening to the same old same old. The mysteries of kraut-rock will not be revealed to me for at least another decade. But it matters not 'cos the scene is already long gone. Kraftwerk had more or less swan-songed with the quirky Computer World,the once mighty Tangerine Dream were cranking out 2 Hollywood sound-tracks a year,Can were finally out of ideas and everything else had been deleted.
Then from nowhere came E2-E4. Beamed to the Earth from the near future here was a fully formed archetype,a whole new genre of music,right here right now. Sure there were other pieces of early electronica around at the time,Jarre's highfalutin Magnetic Fields for example,but it all just paled in comparison. It either took itself far too seriously or was laughing at it's own cleverness. Even Eno and Byrnes masterly My Life In The Bush Of Ghosts,another '81 release,sounds more than a little po-faced to us know it all 21st century wolves. But E2-E4,I don't know, it's different somehow. The creative fire that could have nourished a 100 albums had been poured into just one and it's so difficult to criticise. At worst it's harmless and at best it's ground breaking electronica up there with Clusters Zuckerzeit album and Moebius and Planks Material. But influences by,or similarities to, no, there's nothing out there. Apart from maybe Steve Reich's work with Pat Metheney(remember The Orb's Little Fluffy Clouds sample?)
Gottsching had started out a guitar man but he spent a helluva lot of time hanging out with tech genius Klaus Schulze(check out his LP Black Dance) in the awesome Ash Ra Tempel. Schulze taught him well the way of machines,and on E2-E4 it shows. Some of the sequencer patterns on the album really are quite beautiful and astonishingly way ahead of their time . With every replay another sound track appears out of the mix. Listen out for that glass bottle thing dropping the smallest of octaves each time you hear it,until gradually,it begins to rise again, the perfect sine wave.
It's true genius, however, lies in the fact that it does not let up. E2-E4 pulses relentlessly for a full 60 minutes. Not fancy time changes, or themes, or any of that crap ,just one endless chess game drawn out forever over a blissfully cosmic event horizon(there is a track listing of sorts but to my dumb old ears its just one continuous unfolding )
Then there's the small matter of the guitar solo. I'm not going to tell you how long it lasts 'cos alarms bells will start ringing but what I will say is you've got to take stock of Gottsching's pedigree,specifically, his input into thee greatest rock'n'roll burn out of all time, Ash Ra Tempel's Join Inn, before you make a judgement on what you're listening to. For all the extraordinary electronica going on here the actual guitar track itself is quite unsullied and pure. No effects,or gimmicks,just a controlled and confident"I've made my mark so sod it" Muso ramblings are not my bag but i've got to hand it to Gottsching,it really does work.
10 years later Derrick May remixed this classic into Sueno Latino and finally the 'out of time' E2-E4 was back in the 90"s where it belonged,and now it had a medium,compact disc,on which it could truly shine. All the seminal electronica of the 90's,Underworlds Rez, The Chemical Brothers Music -Response,Underground Resistances' Amazon,Jaydees Plastic Dreams,all are in some way indebted to Gottschings old masterpiece.But if your buying this record for a history lesson,be prepared for a future-shock.
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on 15 September 2001
In 1981 Manuel Gottsching knocked out a 59.20 minute epic piece of music. E2 E4 stands as a brilliant precursor of modern electronic music - fresh latin beats and symphonic keyboards with a half-hour laid-back guitar solo. Very much an inspiration to artists like Derrick May and Carl Craig. This is the missing link between classical music, Detroit techno and Kraftwerk. Funky but intelligent, happy but melancholic, a futuristic piece that's never been bettered since.
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VINE VOICEon 15 May 2007
It's just a little over 25 years since this piece was recorded but now it finally gets it's first UK CD release. Trumpeting the release of an obscure electronic record may seem a little unusual but this is a piece of music of not only merit but also surprising importance.

Its composer was a founding member of Krautrock band Ash Ra Tempel which, at time of recording in 1981, was not exactly the coolest thing to be. The recording languised on tape until 1984 when it was finally released although it didn't exactly sell by the lorryload. However a little like the first Velvet Underground album it was the people who bought it who mattered.

Essentially this is just under an hour of hypnotic rhythms and a very long guitar solo over the top. It has a real trance-like beauty as melody shifts and changes over the constant rhythm. An hour passes gently it is perfect music to sit and listen to but also you can dance to it. Alhough obscure it is actually a piece well known to many.

In 1989 it became the backbone of the hit Sueno Latino - not so much a record itself more a remix of the original - and one of the first truly classic Balearic records. The people who had first come across Gottsching's epic included the likes of Derrick May and DFC (the Italian production team behind Sueno).

Listening to this record now it's influence seems to reach right across the dance music map. Considering when it was recorded it sounds light years ahead of its time and it has been described as the record that invented techno. It's because of this it has been namechecked many times. Somewhat difficult to obtain before this release it is heartening to think this record can take its place alongside "Planet Rock", "Trans Europe Express", "Strings Of Life", and "I Feel Love" as one of the most important electronic records of the last 30 years.
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on 27 June 2006
At the turn of Sixties and intensely through the first half of the Seventies, German Rock and Electronica influenced music all over the Western World. CAN, or Kraftwerk or even Ash Ra Tempel-- Gottsching's group--influenced different but important artists here, from Talking Heads to Anthony Kiedis, David Bowie or even Johnny Rotten.

Gottsching's second solo album--"E2-E4"--leaves behind the brand of Space Rock he helped invent for a crisp but extremely poetic dialogue between his guitar and Electronica. More human than Kraftwerk, Gottsching travels similar but less paved landscapes than the classic Autobhan.

Along with Michael Strother and CAN's Michael Karoli, one of the best guitar players of Rock and Electronica to ever come out from Germany. This album is a classic, a classic that remained adventurous even after almost thirty years.
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on 24 January 2014
Written, played and produced within the space of one evening, it simply has no right to be this good but it is!

This amorphous progression of a theme has reference points to the structured work of Reich and Glass and the early albums of Tangerine dream. This piece will relax and intrigue in equal measure and fans of chill out, Café Del Mar and Balearic will find a treasured album if they don't already own it. Heavily electronic with guitar work flowing over the top, it's had many imitators, covers and samples taken over the years but this is ground zero. Sit back, turn the lights down and make sure you're not disturbed for the next hour... you're in for a treat.
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on 1 November 2013
I had not heard of this musician before. After reading a favourable review in the Guardian and having enjoyed Kraftwerks output in the past thought I would sample. I was pleasantly surprised with this invententive electronic + guitar piece. It builds gradually to a fast combination of sounds that have a sophoriphic quality. I would recommend to family and friends. An ideal gift for birthday or Christmas...
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on 2 December 2014
Read about this album in one of the music magazines. Its one long instrumental but absolutely brilliant.
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on 19 April 2015
A modern classic, a complete masterpiece. You need it on CD to get the complete, unbroken work.
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on 26 January 2016
Great album and service. What more can I say.
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on 16 January 2011
What I really wanted from this performer was 'INVENTIONS FOR ELECTRIC GUITAR' originally out as an album in the mid 70s, and which I had on CD until I was robbed a few years ago; now you can only get it as a Japanese import on cd at a sickeningly high price; tho I think you can get it as an MP3 download on his official site.
I bought E2 E4 on the strength of glowing customer reviews, I wish I hadn't, on first play I hated it, boring, repetitious, 'out to lunch' drivel; I'm glad I only paid £10:13p for it.
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